The Italian adventurer and libertine Giovanni Jacopo Casanova lived from 1725 to 1798, but in this six-part series Dennis Potter attempted to find a contemporary relevance through his ... See full summary »
Mathias Pascal, only son of a once rich family, marries beautiful Romalinda, who has a terrible mother-in-law. She controls her daughter, and soon his home life becomes a nightmare, as well... See full summary »
The marquis de Granier would like his son Charles to end his current relationship for a respectable marriage. His younger brother Octave tries to help but Yvonne Lelys tricks him and he ... See full summary »
Lady Witcomb, disappointed with her marriage, falls in love with an elegant count. She gives him a note-book in which she has written about her feelings for him. But Roy, the manager of the Witcomb factory, steals the book...
'Casanova' shows Mosjoukine at his most light-hearted - like the great artist he was, he makes everything seem easy. This movie is episodic in structure, almost like a collection of short stories. Casanova bounces from one adventure to another, going from Venice to Austria to Russia and finally back to Venice again, and always in the service of women, as he puts it in a letter to a man he's good-naturedly robbed. In the end, all his romancing catches up with him, and he's forced to choose between two women - the scene where they both confront him reminds me a little of Moliere's Dom Juan, though Mosjoukine's Casanova is far more innocent. He delights in tricking and robbing men, especially the pompous and undeserving, but the moment he realizes that he has hurt a woman, his heart is crushed, and he surrenders to his enemies. Mosjoukine always demonstrates great sensitivity to women and I think this is at the root of his only unconvincing moment in the film. When he meets a young girl who is disguised as a boy, he's just too aware of her as a woman to be able to play the role of someone who's fooled into thinking that he's dealing with another man. But apart from this, Mosjoukine's performance is flawless. Rudolf Klein-Rogge, as the half-mad Czar Peter, is also brilliantly funny, marching around barking orders for his soldiers to recover from typhoid, and complaining that the business of state keeps distracting him from his fat, plain mistress. He also accomplishes the rare feat of upstaging Mosjoukine in their one scene together, when Casanova gives the Czar a manicure, and where they play off each other like a seasoned comedy team. Their by-play is so natural, and almost under the radar (the scene is mostly filmed in a kind of medium long shot, not at all focusing on them), it makes me think that they might have been ad-libbing. Klein-Rogge is obviously very comfortable playing comedy, and it would have been nice to see him do more in this vein. The music by Georges Delerue for the restoration of 'Casanova' is perfectly suited to the light-hearted freedom of the piece, and makes the whole experience a joy.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?